Verve Coffee Roasters’ New LA Digs [Interview]

Image by Eater LA.

Verve’s trucking on down to Los Angeles to build out a roastery inside District Millworks (917 East 3rd Street), a super sweet fabrication and design shop in the Arts District. Eater LA scooped the world on this one:

At the moment there aren’t any plans for a retail component at this location. The arrangement is similar to the one at Portland’s Coava Coffee, nestled inside Bamboo Revolution, a flooring and furniture workshop in a more industrial part of the city.

From winning the 2012 Sprudgie Award for “Notable Roaster”, to expertly hosting a highly successful and well-attended Southwest Regional Barista Competition weekend, and now this – what a year for Verve! To be clear, we were completely skunked by Eater LA on breaking this story, but we do have the first public words on the matter from none other than Colby Barr, Verve’s co-founder and world-traversing green buyer. There’s no new images or drawings of the space to share quite yet, but keep an eye for all that good stuff in the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile, let’s chat with Colby.

 

Sprudge: Hey Colby! Thanks for talking to us. How did you guys get hooked up with District Millworks? That company has a pretty sweet looking portfolio. How close are you collaborating with them on the space itself?

Colby Barr, Verve Coffee Roasters: The guys at District Millworks do incredible work! Their showroom is absolutely beautiful and authentic as are their pieces. We met them through some mutual friends and hope to collaborate with them very closely on what we do. I think our aesthetic points of view as well as our brands, pair really well together. Plus, they’re just really cool, down to earth guys who value their craft.

Sprudge: The Eater feature mentions Single Origin as one of your accounts in LA, but we bet there’s more – can you share some of your other wholesale clients in LA / SoCal with us? 

Mr. Barr:  Sure. We are coastal California at our core and have really great friends all along it from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We’ve been really well received in Los Angeles and have to thank Josh Loeb (Milo & Olive, Huckleberry, Rustic Canyon, Sweet Rose Creamery) for sparking that, as well as Bill Chait (Single Origin, Short Cake, Short Order, Sotto, among so many other incredible restaurants). Bill is a powerhouse in LA and we’ve really enjoyed our growing relationship with him. Also, Cafe Dulce, Fix Coffee, to name a few.

Sprudge: Do you guys have people from Santa Cruz all lined up to move down there? Are you going to be hiring for the space in LA?

Mr. Barr: That is all yet to be determined but it is safe to say we will be hiring as well as instilling our Verve culture into the entire operation. There’s really no other way.

Sprudge: Tell us a little more about the training and cupping lab – are there going to be public cuppings, or just for wholesale?

Mr. Barr: Again, the specifics are yet to be determined but all options are on the table, especially the public interface.

Sprudge: Los Angeles is totally awesome, right? We love it too, especially at night – but it’s a much, much larger market than Santa Cruz. Does this pose challenges? Big opportunities? How do you think the Verve vibe will sit in that way bigger setting? 

Mr. Barr: Yes, it is a much bigger market and like all ventures, it poses challenges. But that’s part of the adventure.  Ryan and I have never been adverse to challenges. We focus our efforts on what is we think is right for Verve, which always comes back to the quality of our people, our coffee, and our culture. Verve will always be Verve. We love what we do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

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